For Immediate Release
GAP Praises Settlement of Marine Corps Whistleblower Case
MRAP Whistleblower Franz Gayl Commended for Integrity and Judgment; Assigned to Help Train Marines on Whistleblowing
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Marine Corps whistleblower Franz Gayl and his attorneys since 2007 at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) praised the Marine Corps and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for the successful resolution of his seven-year Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) complaint.
Gayl is the Marine Corps science advisor whose disclosures ended delays in delivering the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) to Iraq and Afghanistan. Their absence had accounted for well over half of combat deaths and other casualties in those wars, which dropped by over 90 percent after their delivery. He and another national security whistleblower, Robert MacLean, also proposed reforms that President Obama eventually adopted as Presidential Policy Directive 19. PPD 19 created free speech rights for whistleblowers making disclosures inside their agencies, outlawed retaliation through security clearance actions, and upgraded due process rights to challenge security clearance reprisals.
Gayl paid a nightmarish price for his MRAP disclosures, even though he was acting at the direction of America’s top field general in Iraq, who had been unable to secure delivery of the lifesaving vehicles for well over a year. From 2007-2014 Gayl endured a reprimand, several suspensions, a criminal investigation, threats of removal for unacceptable performance, removal of duties, partial loss of his security clearance credentials, proposed demotion and salary cutoff, and other forms of harassment. The turning point came in 2011, when Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner obtained a stay of ongoing retaliation, and the case moved into mediation.
The settlement guarantees that Gayl's job and salary are not downgraded before his retirement. Significantly, it also includes a commendation for his service to the Marine Corps, and appointment to a new team committed to training Marine Corps staff and management in WPA rights and responsibilities. The appointment is based on formal recognition of his trustworthiness, integrity and commitment to the Marine Corps.
Gayl commented, "This resolution not only vindicates me but also my loyalty and dedication to the Marines, which never wavered. I wish to thank the Corps and the Office of Special Counsel for hard work and dedication to the merit system. Most of all, I’d like to thank my wife for her loyalty during a seven-year nightmare from which we never knew if we would wake up. Without her, I could not have made it."
Gayl's attorney, GAP Legal Director Tom Devine, added, "In my experience, it is unprecedented to appoint a whistleblower to help train any agency in free speech rights, let alone a military service. The Marines deserve credit where it is due. This victory would not have occurred without the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, whose lawyers stopped the bleeding and whose Alternative Disputes Resolution unit healed the wounds with marathon determination. Hopefully, this will be a precedent for whistleblowing disputes to end through consensus, instead of conflict."
OSC Alternative Disputes Resolution Chief Jane Juliano and OSC Dallas Regional Office Chief Anne Gullick led the mediation. View the OSC press release here.
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The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.